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2017 Festivals Confab

Friday January 20, 2017 6:00 pm through Saturday January 21, 2017 3:00 am

Redlands Bowl

25 Grant Street Redlands, CA 92373

Hosted by the Redlands Bowl

The Festivals Confab is an event specifically for executive/managing directors of California's classical music festivals - a time to gather together for professional development, peer learning, and an opportunity to discuss a wide range of concerns and ideas affecting the field.

Hotel Information:
Ayers Hotel - Redlands | Room Rate $99 single/double
1015 West Colton Avenue, Redlands, CA 92374
To make a reservation, please call 909.335.9024 x403, and mention ACSO Festivals Confab, or make your reservation on line by clicking HERE.
Reservations must be made by January 13.

If you have questions, please contact Bettina Swigger, executive director of Festival Mosaic at

Please complete this form to register for the confab:

Powerful Boards, Purposeful Fundraising

Professional Development Seminar in San Francisco, CA on February 16, 2017

Want to give your organization an opportunity to significantly increase the potential of the board’s development efforts? Attend Powerful Boards, Purposeful Fundraising, a professional development seminar presented by the League of American Orchestras' Noteboom Governance Center. Register Here.

This seminar is presented by the League of American Orchestras in collaboration with the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO).

Improve the Odds of Successfully Accomplishing Your Fundraising Mission

It's never been more important for the board and staff to work together effectively to solicit financial support for your organization. Perfect for board-staff-volunteer teams, this practical session addresses the complementary roles board members play in their organization's governance and resource development.

The session begins with a close look at board recruitment, structure, operations, and culture, knowing that weak boards don't raise funds effectively. The second part of the session focuses on how to involve board members in effective fundraising and their role in supporting your bequest and planned giving program.

Topics Covered in This Day-Long Session Will Include:

  • Trends impacting governance and fundraising in the nonprofit sector
  • Why some nonprofits confuse volunteering with governance
  • Legal obligations of nonprofit boards
  • How great boards profile before recruiting
  • Why term limits are essential for a fundraising board
  • How successful fundraising is not about asking for money

Who Should Attend?
Board members, executive directors/CEOs, senior development staff, and volunteers who have fundraising or governance responsibilities. To derive the maximum benefit and truly multiply the force of your development efforts, teams of board and staff members are encouraged to attend.

Your Seminar Leader
Chuck Loring, a senior partner of Loring, Sternberg & Associates, has consulted on governance matters with, among other orchestras, the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, the Sarasota Symphony Orchestra, and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra.

Thursday, February 16, 2017, 8:30am- 4:00pm
Registration opens at 8:00am
Lunch is included

Davies Symphony Hall (home of the San Francisco Symphony)
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94102

$245 per person for League and/or ACSO members ($295 for non-members)

Click here for online registration.

Please plan to join us at a reception after the seminar from 4:00 - 5:00 pm.

And while they last, get specially priced tickets to that evening's performance by the San Francisco Symphony (purchase by January 31, 2017 required).

John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary

Social justice, political unrest, miracles, and resurrection. Join the San Francisco Symphony in celebrating John Adams’ 70th birthday with “the most sophisticated, majestic, and moving [music] of his career.” (Los Angeles Times) With a libretto by Peter Sellars built on texts and poems from feminist writers and social activists.

Concert 8:00 pm.

This seminar, offered through the League’s Noteboom Governance Center, is made possible, in part, by generous grants from the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The League’s Noteboom Governance Center is supported by leadership gifts from Richard and Kay Fredericks Cisek, The Clinton Family Fund, Marcia and John Goldman, and the Sargent Family Foundation.


Ask an Expert Webinar: Fundraising Planning

Wednesday November 30, 2016 2:00 pm to 3:10 pm

Join us as we examine the foundation of building a comprehensive fundraising program, including setting annual fundraising goals and creating an effective written fundraising plan. Click here to register.

Annual Conference Call for Session Ideas Open

ACSO invites you to submit breakout session ideas for the 2017 annual conference in Los Angeles, July 20-22. This three-day convening is planned around your needs and in response to industry challenges and trends. It is designed to focus on skill-building and to facilitate collaboration, exploration, and connections on multiple levels.

Visit our Call for Session Ideas Webform to submit your ideas. Submissions are due Friday, December 2. 

It Is Time to Renew Your ACSO Membership

Building a thriving community takes passion, energy, and commitment. Orchestral music and performance cannot be produced and sustained without a strong management base. ACSO exists to provide essential leadership and resources to you, the classical music producers and presenters, and to encourage and support your artistic, organizational, and fiscal development. Renew your organization or individual membership, today!

ACSO Offices Relocated to Los Angeles

The Association of California Symphony Orchestra's offices relocated to Los Angeles the first two weeks of October. ACSO will maintain a presence in Sacramento as we are committee to being the statewide voice to advocate to policymakers the importance classical music and the arts have in our communities and people's everyday lives.

What members should know:

  • The new ACSO mailing address is: PO BOX 71439, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (the address on the current membership renewal forms).
  • Our phone number will remain the same (916-484-6744); however, the line may be down between Friday, October 7 and Tuesday, October 11.
  • Our main email address will remain the same ( and we will respond as quickly as possible to all messages.



ACSO Membership Elects Director Emerita and Executive Director Emerita

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) is pleased to announce that Kelly Ruggirello, executive director of the Long Beach Symphony, has been elected an Emeritus Director of the ACSO Board of Directors. In its 43-year history, Ruggirello becomes only one of 9 other elected Emeritus Directors. Ruggirello has served with distinction on the Board for ten years, three of them as its president. Prior to her appointment to the Long Beach Symphony in 2013, she was the executive director of Pacific Chorale. A sought-after arts consultant and early in her career an elementary school teacher, Ruggirello has created a culture of inclusiveness and thoughtfulness in her professional career. The ACSO membership has been the fortunate recipients of her stewardship. Ruggirello states, “There is no greater honor than being recognized by your professional colleagues, so I am humbled by and deeply grateful for this recognition by such an esteemed state-wide organization.

Kris Sinclair, retired executive director of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) has been elected Executive Director Emeritus, the first such designation in ACSO’s history. Before being hired in 1985, Sinclair was president of the Santa Rosa Symphony League and then on its Board of Directors in the 80s. She moved ACSO World Headquarters to Sacramento in 1987. Sinclair understood what the membership needed from its service organization and built ACSO’s services and programs accordingly. “Working at ACSO has not been so much of a job as a calling – and one that gave me joy each day. I leave this position with the richest store of memories that one could ever imagine,” Sinclair said.

Both votes occurred at the Annual Meeting of Members during the Annual Conference on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

ACSO Announces New Executive Director

by ACSO Office on June 1, 2016

June 1, 2016 - The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) today announced that Mitch Menchaca has been named the new executive director, succeeding Kris Sinclair who is retiring at the end of September after thirty-one years at the helm.
Mr. Menchaca was selected as a result of a nationwide search which began in January. He has most recently served as vice president of services and chief operating officer for Chorus America, the national membership association of more than 2,000 professional, volunteer, symphonic and children/youth choruses. Prior to that, he was the head of local arts advancement at Americans for the Arts where he designed and executed programs that provided support and resources to the 5,000 local arts agencies across the United States. Before his time in Washington, D.C., he was the senior director of programs for the Arizona Commission for the Arts, where he administered an extensive portfolio of grants from all artistic disciplines, with budgets ranging from $1,000 to more than $10 million. Over the years he has served on numerous boards of directors including The Association of American Cultures, the Robert E. Gard Foundation, and has served on many statewide, regional, and national grant panels including the National Endowment for the Arts. He earned a degree in public administration at Arizona State University, and completed a festival and event management certificate at the University of Minnesota Tourism Center.
“I am honored to follow Kris Sinclair who has built a highly successful model of service for the field,” remarked Mitch Menchaca. “I am excited to work with the ACSO board of directors and membership both to honor her legacy and to build new opportunities for our members that match their growing needs for leadership, skills training and year-round networking, and continue to be the statewide voice to advocate the importance classical music and the arts have in our communities and people’s everyday lives.”
President of the ACSO Board of Directors and executive director of the Long Beach Symphony, Kelly Ruggirello said, “We knew it would be hard to find Kris’ successor, and we couldn’t be happier with Mitch. He will bring us new energy and a ready understanding of the optimal tools for our members. His experience with associations and his passion for classical music are pitch perfect for ACSO.”

Read the Full Press Release Here

League of American Orchestras to Honor ACSO Executive Director Kris Sinclair with the Gold Baton

New York, NY (May 4, 2016) – At the League of American Orchestras’ Conference in Baltimore, June 9-11, the League will present its highest honor, the Gold Baton, to Kris Sinclair, executive director of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO). Sinclair, who is retiring this year after thirty-one years at ACSO’s helm, will receive the award at the League’s Annual Meeting, June 10, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

“Over three decades, Kris Sinclair has been a staunch advocate for orchestras, creating a model state orchestra association through her exemplary leadership,” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen.

Given annually since 1948 for distinguished service to America’s orchestras, the Gold Baton recognizes individuals and institutions whose far-reaching contributions to the field serve to champion and advance the cause of orchestras and symphonic music throughout the country. 

Click here to read the League of American Orchestras' press release announcing the award.

AB 2855 Passes in Reconsideration

It was previously reported that the bill that would harm nonprofits had been stopped.
Unfortunately the bill has passed the Assembly Privacy & Consumer Protection Committee, and will next be heard in the Appropriations Committee.